For 50 years Sesame Street has brought issues facing families to the forefront of the public conscious, while giving children the message that they are not alone. Earlier this month, Sesame Street introduced a new puppet named Karli who has a parent – her mother – who suffers from opioid addiction. Karli is in foster care as her mother works to take care of her illness. The Sesame Workshop also offers videos, a storybook, and other articles and activities that can help parents, caregivers, educators, and health care providers talk to children about addiction. Making children feel comfortable talking about this issue and their accompanying feelings is essential.
According to a 2017 report from the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1 in 8 or about 8.7 million children under the age of 17 live in a house with a parent who has had a substance use disorder. From 2013 to 2015 there was a 7 percent increase in the number of children placed in foster care. The impact of a parent/caregiver’s addiction on children doesn’t end in childhood. Data from the National Institutes of Health shows that children of addicts are eight times more likely to become addicts themselves. Other challenges can include disrupted neurodevelopment, social and/or cognitive impairment, and adoption of risky behaviors that can contribute to disease, injury, or even death.
CSIP and partners work to protect families from the dangers of illicit drugs – both through curbing online sales and through sharing of tools and resources. Connecting families to support services is essential. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, which has recently merged with the Center for Addiction, has great resources for families.
About the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP)
The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), a non-profit organization founded in 2011 by the White House, represents the technology sector and commerce intermediaries including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Oath, UPS, PayPal, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and .Health. CSIP’s mission is to promote industry best practices as it relates to illegal online pharmacies, and educating consumers about safe purchasing of prescription drugs.